Christmas Day 2014 Marks 50th Anniversary of Rutgers Professor’s Groundbreaking Innovation in Ag

The air inflated plastic greenhouse increases food security in third world countries where it is used extensively to extend their growing seasons. Locally, the flowers we buy in full bloom, the flats of vegetable and herb transplants for springtime planting and local vegetables grown in plastic covered greenhouses to extend the early or late seasons, can be produced locally and economically.

The air inflated plastic greenhouse increases food security in third world countries where it is used extensively to extend the growing season. In the US, the flowers we buy in full bloom and the flats of vegetable and herb transplants for springtime planting can be produced locally and economically in these greenhouses.

It was Christmas morning of 1964 when Bill Roberts was tinkering in his basement when he was supposed to be doing something else. The now retired Rutgers NJAES specialist in agricultural engineering was building a model greenhouse in his basement when he used an aquarium air pump to separate the two layers of the plastic film covering. As innocuous as it may seem, what Roberts did was actually an innovation that would be a boon to the agricultural industry and revolutionize the use of greenhouses worldwide. Back from winter break, the work commenced on campus in 1965 with a structure on Cook campus that served as the first ever air-inflated, double-layer polyethylene greenhouse. That original structure still stands on campus and in 2004, the American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ASABE), dedicated the structure as an ASABE Historic Landmark. Read the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association’s anniversary tribute and more about this historic innovation that was developed at Rutgers.

Stop, Slow, & Go: Hormonal Signals from Mother’s Milk

Hormones are like a group email or a Facebook message with many recipients. Just as a Facebook status may be received by only certain ("friended") people, hormone messages are only received by tissues that have the right receptors. In this way, specialized glands secrete a hormone to convey the body’s "status," and the "friended" tissues – those with the receptor – are updated..Professors Frank "Skip" Bartol at Auburn University, and Carole Bagnell at Rutgers have been tackling hormones in mother’s milk and the consequences in piglets for over a decade. They and their team have found an exquisite synchrony between hormones in mother’s milk and hormonal receptors in piglets that together affect piglet development, particularly in their reproductive tract.

Read the entire article at milkgenomics.org »

Floriculture Greenhouse Dazzles with its Annual Poinsettia Display and Sale

Each year the Floriculture Greenhouse on the Cook campus hosts a Poinsettia Open House followed up with a sale of the flowers. Photo by Jack Rabin.

Each year the Floriculture Greenhouse on the Cook campus hosts a Poinsettia Open House followed up by a sale of the flowers. Photo by Jack Rabin.

Arctic, Freedom Peppermint, Silverstar Red, Sonora Jingle, Premium Polar – they’re not holiday candies or names of rogue reindeer, but are among the many Poinsettia cultivars on display during the annual Poinsettia Open House held at the Floriculture Greenhouse on the George H. Cook campus. Almost 100 varieties provided by the leading breeders/propagators such as Ball, Dummen, Ecke, and Syngenta, were on display at the Open House which was held in November. The Open House is followed up by a plant sale of the Poinsettias, which this year is on Tuesday, December 2, through Friday, December 5, 11:00 to 3:00 each day. The plants are selling for $8 per 6” pot. [Read more…]

Executive Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Celebrates 150 Years as Land-Grant by Saluting George Hammell Cook

George H. Cook, the star of the Distinguished Lecture celebrating the 150th anniversary of the school, is flanked, from the left, by Executive Dean Bob Goodman, University Archivist Thomas Frusciano, and Thomas Farris, dean of the School of Engineering.

George H. Cook, the star of the Distinguished Lecture celebrating the 150th anniversary of the school, is flanked, from the left, by Executive Dean Bob Goodman, University Archivist Thomas Frusciano, and Thomas Farris, dean of the School of Engineering.

“In the early 1860s Rutgers College was in the doldrums,” writes biographer Jean Wilson Sidar. “An ailing and aging president, apathetic alumni, and a lack of support … made the college an unlikely place for a dynamic change of direction and growth.” Due to the Civil War, the entire institution was reduced in size from 164 students in 1861 to 64 in 1864. For George Cook, perhaps the college’s most prominent and industrious faculty member, “the situation was one of great concern,” Sidar writes with great understatement.

However, the scene was set for a remarkable reinvigoration of Rutgers, led by George Hammell Cook and colleague David Murray as they secured for Rutgers the designation of New Jersey’s land-grant institution. The story of how this came about and the indefatigable commitment of Cook was the subject of a 150th anniversary celebration at the Executive Dean’s Distinguished Lecture last month presented with scores of historic illustrations by Thomas Frusciano, University archivist. The video of the lecture is available for viewing below. See how Cook “brought new vitality and a new commitment to the college.”

Video: Executive Dean's Distinguished Lecture: Rutgers Hero, George Hammell Cook

Annie’s Project Retail Marketing Conference Helps New Jersey Farm Women

Robin Brumfield, RCE extension specialist in farm management, conducted a “Market-to-Market" workbook session that led to a the draft marketing plan for the farm women.

Robin Brumfield, RCE extension specialist in farm management, conducted a “Market-to-Market” workbook session that led to a draft marketing plan by the farm women.

Farm women were exposed to a full day of learning and networking at the Annie’s Project New Jersey: Retail Marketing Conference for Farm Women last month at the Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center, in Bridgeton, NJ. Annie’s Project is a nationally acclaimed farm business educational program for farm women.

The 17 farm women who attended the daylong conference were exposed to a variety of topics designed to give them a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace that would help them develop a business strategy to ensure the success of their operations. Relevant topics included agritourism, social media, marketing strategies, value-added enterprises, financial goals, marketing plan and crop insurance offered by a series of presenters drawn from Rutgers, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Delaware Department of Agriculture, University of Maryland Extension and the NJ Farmers Direct Marketing Association.

Stephanie Cash, owner of Dias Creek Oyster Company, a commercial oyster business that she operates with her husband in Cape May Court House, NJ, found the conference very useful. “In many respects, the day helped me see what next steps I must take. Even more important, it helped me see what I must do to free up the time to get the necessary things done. It was a most refreshing way to review priorities.” [Read more…]